Free HERE Drive+ for all Windows Phone 8.1 devices

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HERE Drive+ will be free for everyone with Windows Phone 8.1 on their smartphone, providing GPS guided, turn-by-turn navigation, for vehicles in 97 countries. Previously, HERE Drive+ was only available on select Nokia devices, with the geo-restricted HERE Drive provided on lower end Lumia devices (e.g. Lumia 625) and select non-Nokia devices (e.g. UK HTC 8X).  

From the Three Sixty blog:

Windows Phone 8.1 is powered by HERE, but we wanted to make it even better for a mobile lifestyle. This is why we extend the benefits of free voice guided car navigation in 97 countries to everyone. No matter whether you have an entry-level Nokia Lumia 520, a Samsung Ativ S or a HTC 8X, with Windows Phone 8.1 you get HERE Drive+ for free, saving up to €35.

The move will simplify consumer messaging, with Windows Phone 8.1 now able to lay claim to a tag line of "comes with free global GPS car navigation" on every device. Given the geographic reach of HERE and its hybrid nature (full offline support), this could be a significant point of differentiation for Windows Phone devices.

Updates to HERE Maps, HERE Drive+ and HERE Transit in Windows Phone 8.1

Nokia is updating the HERE apps to coincide  with the release of Windows Phone 8.1. Map content is updated across all apps, with extended support for 3D buildings in select countries (more extensive than previous 3D landmarks), and updated aerial imagery. The updated aerial imagery is a major improvement over what was previously available, especially in rural areas. In urban areas, which generally already had reasonable coverage, the improvements are only really apparent when zoomed into to a relatively low level. 

The updated aerial imagery should help Nokia's HERE offerings get more favourable reviews when compared to Google's map offerings. Google's aerial imagery has rightly been regarded as superior to Nokia's aerial imagery, but, in areas where the imagery has been updated, the difference is now much smaller. Google's advantage in Street View / Street Side image coverage remains an important differentiation point, but this may be diminished by the rise of AR-enhanced street level data and related imagery in the future.


In HERE Maps a new two finger gesture allows you to rotate the map according to your preference and to tilt the map to activate the 3D mode.

Finally, in HERE Drive+ Nokia has added "tap destination" support. A long press anywhere on the map allows you to set the relevant location as yours destination (rather than having to perform a search, or go though a place page).


The new version of the HERE apps will be delivered in time for the consumer release of Windows Phone 8.1. They will not be available for the Developer Preview Program release.

Source / Credit: Three Sixty